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Sarah McTee
Knauss Fellow 2006

2525 Correa Road, HIG 238
Honolulu, HI 96822

Sarah McTee was placed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) headquarters in the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, and worked as a fishery management specialist in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Management Division. Highly Migratory Species (tunas, marlin, oceanic sharks, sailfish and swordfish) are different from most fish species in that they are found throughout the ocean and must be managed on both domestic and international levels. The fishing gear used to target these fish has the potential to interact with protected resources such as sea turtles and marine mammals.

McTee’s first task during her Knauss fellowship was to help finalize a Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic HMS. As part of this management plan, McTee and her colleagues planed a series of workshops to teach fishermen how to disentangle and/or release marine mammals and sea turtles that may interact with their fishing gear. These workshops were designed to reduce bycatch and mortality of protected resources such as marine mammals that may be incidentally caught in these fisheries, while minimizing the social and economic burden placed on the fishing community. The workshop included curriculum that teaches basic natural history such as known distribution and identifying characteristics of commonly encountered marine mammals. Teaching fishermen to positively identify marine mammals will increase biologists’, resource managers’, and enforcement officials’ knowledge of marine mammal species distribution and abundance, and will allow for appropriate modifications to fishing behavior to further reduce interactions with marine mammals.

Throughout the course of her fellowship, McTee addressed bycatch of marine mammals in HMS fisheries as her office worked with the Pelagic Longline Take Reduction Team to explore research needs and regulatory measures necessary to prevent interactions with protected resources. This was only a small portion of McTee’s responsibilities as a Fishery Management Specialist, all of which were unique to her placement in this office during her fellowship year. For more information on the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship or other fellowships Sea Grant offers, please see the National Sea Grant website at